The Buckeyes return to the ice to host the Mercyhurst Lakers on Saturday (7pm) and Sunday (8pm). Ohio State’s series preview has links for following the action from home. It also includes info on the promotions and goodies for those who are heading out to the Schott, like Sunday being another chance for youth hockey players to tour the locker room.
The Bucks enjoyed a spotless 6-0-0 record against Atlantic Hockey opponents in the first half. Mercyhurst is the fourth team Ohio State will face from the AHA this season and by far the biggest challenge. Like the Buckeyes, the Lakers have terrorized the AHA. Mercyhurst went 7-1-1 in league games, outscoring their opponents 46-21, and currently sit at the top of the conference standings. They were less successful in non-conference games, but played a brutal schedule against teams such as current No. 1 Minnesota, No. 2 Ferris State, No. 9 Clarkson, and an RPI team that’s receiving voted in both polls.
The Lakers are a veteran team, featuring 18 upperclassmen. Juniors Matthew Zay (10-16--26) and Ryan Misiak (6-15--21) lead the team in scoring along with senior Daniel O’Donoghue (8-16--24). Those three are among the top twenty point-getters in the nation. Altogether the team boasts the fourth best offense in the country (3.83 goals per game) and is tied for second-most total goals scored (69). Mercyhurst is even a dangerous team when they’re down a man. The team boasts an NCAA-best eight shorthanded goals.
The man in net for the Lakers is likely to be Jimmy Sarjeant. Although he’s a junior, he had played in just five games prior to this season. He doesn’t seem to have had any problem stepping into a larger role this year. He has 9-3-2 record and has earned a 2.57 GAA and .921 SV%. Another player to watch will be junior Daniel Bahntge. He’s on a five game point streak and has racked up six goals and three assists over that stretch. Also of note: Bahntge, hailing from Westlake, is one of four Ohio natives on Mercyhurst’s roster. The others are Grant Gettinger of North Olmsted, Kyle Cook of Middleburg Heights, and Mychal Monteith of Toledo.
The Buckeyes are no slouch in the offensive department, coming in just a few spots below Mercyhurst with the nation’s eighth best offense at 3.57 goals per game. Their game strengthened throughout the first half of the season and they have the chops to run their record vs. the AHA to 8-0. However, they’ve also been off for nearly an entire month and are bound to have developed some rust. The goaltending situation is still somewhat up in the air as well, though the depth chart has been significantly shored up with the addition of freshman goalie Christian Frey. The Lakers are going to be a tough team to face right off the break. Personally, I think a split would be an OK result this weekend.
Did you know? Darik Angeli is the Buckeyes' best faceoff man. He wins 64.5% of his draws, a percentage that ranks him fifth nationally.
A few pre-series notes...
- Voting is now open to select the forwards for the All-Buckeye Team. Cast your ballot here. (The final team will include three forwards, but we can only vote for two? The heck?)
- Drew Claussen and Paula Weston made their weekly Big Ten predictions for USCHO.
Big Ten Standings and Schedule
|No. 1 Minnesota||2||0||0||0||Bye|
|No. 3 Michigan||2||0||0||0||vs. WMU & MSU/MTU (Great Lakes Inv.)|
|No. 14/15 Wisconsin||2||2||0||0||vs. UAH|
|Michigan State||0||1||1||1||vs. MTU & WMU/UM (Great Lakes Inv.)|
|Ohio State||0||2||0||0||vs. MCY|
|Penn State||0||2||0||0||vs. RMU & BGSU/BC (Three Rivers Cls.)|